Prosecutors allege DeLay used his political action committee to illegally channel $190,000 in corporate donations into 2002
DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, and his attorneys say no corporate funds went to
"There's no crime and Tom DeLay didn't do anything," said Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's lead attorney.
Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb said despite the circumstantial nature of the case, he will focus his closing argument on the evidence authorities presented at trial "and the jurors' use of common sense to put the circumstantial evidence together."
DeLay, a once powerful but polarizing Houston-area Republican congressman, is charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
During the trial, which began Nov. 1, prosecutors presented more than 30 witnesses and volumes of e-mails and other documents in their efforts to portray DeLay as the driving force behind his Texas-based PAC. In contrast, only five witnesses took the stand in DeLay's defense.
Prosecutors say DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to create a scheme that sent $190,000 in corporate donations to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee, or RNC. Under
The money was exchanged for the same amount from individual donations, which can be used in
Prosecutors allege the money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the GOP majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 - and strengthened DeLay's political power.
The strongest evidence by authorities was an audio interview played for jurors in which DeLay said he knew beforehand about the money swap. DeLay says he misspoke in the interview with prosecutors in 2005, just before his indictment.
Prosecutors also presented e-mails and financial records showing that through the money swap, the seven
DeLay's attorneys presented three current and former RNC officials who testified the money swap was a common transaction and had been done by political parties for years.
Two former DeLay staff members testified DeLay would have been too busy to be at a meeting in September 2002 when prosecutors suggest the ex-lawmaker could have been told about the money swap before its approval.
The criminal charges in
Ellis and Colyandro, who face lesser charges, will be tried later.
DeLay, whose nickname was "the Hammer" for his heavy-handed style, runs a consulting firm based in the